Not remembering a book name is as frustrating as it gets for us book lovers. It happened to all of us to remember vague information about the plot, or character names, what the book was about, but to not be able for the life of us to name the book.
Knowing how to find a book by plot or to find a book using a vague description can get you out of some very annoying situations and can help you avoid restless nights spent trying to remember a book title.
Why do we forget book names but remember many other details about them?
Before exploring the options we have at hand in order to find a book by description, let’s have a quick look at why it happens so often to forget a title while we do remember other information about the book itself. First, it’s important to understand a little about how our memory works.
How does memory work?
Memory in itself consists of 3 main stages: encoding, storing and retrieval.
As the name suggests, the first stage is the actual processing of the information we are presented with. Whether it’s visual, acoustic, semantic or tactile, the encoding is the process through which something we see, hear, learn or touch is being processed by our brain and transformed into electrical impulses through which it will later be stored in our short term or long term memory.
The second stage refers exactly to that. Depending on the kind of information we are being presented with, our brain decides (usually without any conscious implication from ourselves) whether it will need it for a couple of seconds or for years to come. As a rule of thumb, the encoding from the first stage plays a crucial role in how the information is stored. While visual, acoustic and tactile encoded information is generally, but not exclusively, stored in our short term memory, most of the information encoded as semantic gets into our long term memory.
The last, and from certain points of view, the most important stage in the memory process is the retrieval of information. This stage actually involves remembering the things we saw, heard, learned or received through other senses. This is where usually things go wrong. This is where that annoying feeling occurs when you know you have a piece of information but just can’t remember it.
So why do we forget book names?
As I explained above, the things we see, feel, hear or simply learn are stored differently in our brains. Seeing or reading a book is a complex mental process which involves several parts of our brains. We see the book, we notice the covers and their illustrations, we feel it in our hands, we hear the pages turn, we smell it. All this information about a book is perceived and remembered differently.
That is why sometimes we can have a pretty clear idea about how a book looks, what it’s about, how thick or heavy it is and still be unable to remember its name or author or neither. It’s simply because we access the information differently and it comes from different places, through different encodings and sometimes, for no particular reason, we have a tougher time accessing one part of the information than the rest of it.
How to Find a Book Title By Plot or Vague Description?
Now that you know why you have a hard time remembering a book name, let’s see what can be done.
First of all, don’t feel bad, we all go through it and it’s no indication of your mental abilities. Our brains simply work against us sometimes. The good news is that we have a plethora of tools at our disposal to fight back.
Here’s a couple of the most useful ways for you to find a book title by plot description.
Google search or other search engines
We all know that our lives would look completely different if all of a sudden search engines stopped existing. They have become an important part of our lives and for good reason. I have a hard time thinking about a different tool that I use as often or that is more useful to my day-to-day life than Google or other search engines, and this is true for most people on the planet.
While its applications are immensely diverse, Google can be an incredibly powerful tool when you’re looking for a book title you forgot. Any search engine will give you the option to look for a book regardless of how little information you have about it.
Search engines are likely to retrieve good results if you search for a partial title, author, description of the plot or even the way the book looks or what’s on the cover. While search engines are incredibly powerful tools you can access pretty much from anywhere and from any device and usually yield great results, they are not perfect. That is why you should always have a backup plan.
Dedicated websites for books
An alternative to search engines when it comes to your need to find a book using a vague description are the dedicated book sites. Goodreads, Book Riot, Literary Hub are just a few of the many websites dedicated to readers of all levels.
While these may not be quite as effective as search engines, the good news is that by using them to search for a book title you can’t remember, you will access platforms designed with the reader in mind. So on top of finding your book, you are likely to find a lot more information about it as well: articles, reviews, criticism and even other recommendations.
Since we’re on the subject of web platforms that can be useful when you need to find a book by description, we shouldn’t exclude the forums. There’s a plethora of reading forums you can access and where you can simply ask other members to help you remember any particular book.
Reddit can also turn out to be a savior if you use it right. There are quite a lot of reading-dedicated subreddits that have a ton of activity, where your questions about books can be answered in a matter of minutes.
Basmo Reading App
Most reading tracking apps include a search feature which can turn out to be the key to finding that book title that’s been bugging you. The main advantage of having a dedicated reading app is that you can easily access it on any mobile device and comes with a plethora of other features that can help you improve your reading habits.
Basmo is definitely not an exception. Once you have the tiny wizard installed on your mobile device, you can use its search function to find pretty much any book title you can think of, using either keywords, a partial book title or the author’s name.
While there is no option to search for a book just by plot or description, the good news is that by tracking all your reading with Basmo, you will ensure that you will never be in the position of trying to find a book title by vague description. Basmo will save all the books you read or add to the lists and you will always have them at hand.
Also, the app comes packed with other features which will take your reading to a whole new level. Here’s how.
Give Your Reading Experience
An Extra Boost With Basmo
Track the books you read, monitor the time you spend reading and keep notes on your reading habits and how it makes you feel. You can set yourself targets for the time you spend reading and you can get notified whenever you’re behind on your reading time.
Once you find the book you’re looking for, enjoy it with Basmo
On top of helping you find book titles even if you don’t remember too much information about the novel, Basmo can also make you more organized and efficient when it comes to your reading habits.
First and foremost, it will help you track all your reading sessions and it will record your time spent reading and even the pages read. You can manually start a reading session every time you pick up a book and your progress will be tracked and recorded for further analysis and statistics.
Basmo will allow you to set reading goals, both daily and yearly. You can either choose to set yourself a target of minutes spent reading daily or to set a yearly goal for the number of books you want to read.
To help you reach your goals, Basmo will track your progress towards them and also comes with a reminders function which will set off notifications according to your schedule and preferences so that you never miss out on a reading session.
On top of this, the app comes with a book scanning feature, which makes taking notes or saving quotes incredibly easy and quick.
All you need to do is to scan the page of a book with the camera on your phone while a reading session is ongoing and the app will extract the text and turn it into a digital note.
You can even edit that note by formatting it in a manner that is useful to you, or you can save it as an image and share it as a quote on any social media platform you want.
While understanding how our memory works and how to improve it in a way that makes us remember all the information we will ever need is still a process that baffles scientists, it’s important to know that we have tools at our disposal that can make things easier for us even when our memory betrays us.
Whether it’s search engines, dedicated websites for book lovers, reading apps or even subreddits or forums, you should take advantage of everything the internet has to offer if you really want to remember the title of a book you don’t remember much about.
On top of helping you find the book titles you forgot, Basmo has tons of other benefits for your reading habits, so try it out and see for yourself!
Ready to take your reading game to the next level?
Try Basmo book tracker today!
It’s 100% free to download, so what have you got to lose?